Pulpit Rock (Isle of Portland)

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Pulpit Rock, Portland Bill

Pulpit Rock is a coastal feature at the southern tip of the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. The artificial stack of rock was left in the 1870s after a natural arch was cut away by quarrymen at the Bill Quarry on the famous headland, Portland Bill.[1] It was intentionally left in place as a quarrying relic.[2] It is similar to the quarrying relic landmark stack Nicodemus Knob, located close to Portland's East Weares area, at East Cliff.

The rock has remained a popular tourist attraction on the island, and is often photographed and climbed.[3] Despite the danger, for many decades Pulpit Rock has been a popular place for tombstoning.[4] Pulpit Rock is also a local popular point for Wrasse anglers, and in 1998 the British record Ballan Wrasse was caught here by local expert Pete Hegg.[5]

The exposed rock surface that surrounds Pulpit Rock is known as Snail Shore. The surface contains millions of snail, oyster and mollusc shells that was once a Jurassic seabed thriving with marine life around 150 million years ago.[6]

The geological succession up from sea level is: Portland Cherty Series (up to the level of the neighbouring quarried platform), then Portland Freestone (the oolitic limestone quarried inland of Pulpit Rock), then a cap of thin-bedded limestones which are part of the basal Purbeck Formation.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Portland Bill: Exploring Portland by Geoff Kirby". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  2. ^ "Portland Bill - Geological Field Guide". Southampton.ac.uk. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  3. ^ "Sea Gallery | Pulpit Rock, Portland, Dorset by Robin Mills ARPS | Fine Art Photography". Robinmillsphotography.com. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  4. ^ YouTube (2009-08-01). "Cliff Jumping, Portland Bill: Extreme sport Tombstoning danger". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  5. ^ "Portlandbill.co.uk". Portlandbill.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  6. ^ "Quick facts about the Jurassic Coast". Jurassiccoastline.com. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  7. ^ "West, Ian. M. 2008. The Isle of Portland: Portland Bill. Geology of the Wessex Coast". Retrieved 2009-01-02. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Pulpit Rock, Isle of Portland at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 50°30′51.3″N 2°27′34.1″W / 50.514250°N 2.459472°W / 50.514250; -2.459472